We leave for the States on Friday, so I’m officially in pre-travel, pre-holiday fight or flight mode. I tend to focus well in these types of circumstances, yet I’m struggling with the time factor and my ginormous list of things I have to do before we leave, like pack, laundry, hand-off our cat, and so on. To get a grip on things, I held a project management summit with myself on Sunday and came up a plan. But I’ll write more about that below. First, I’ll show you how I did on my writing goals:
- Continue going through my chronology binder and making related notes (aiming to spend 1-2 hours on this)—NO
- Write one hour per day on my work-in-progress – YES (all but 1 day)
- Finish reading The Memoir Project – ALMOST
- Figure out my memoir’s algorithm – NO
- Continue sharing the little promotional tools I’ve created for Doable, including the featured girl quotes + additional freebies – YES
- Send out a personal email to my friends and colleagues re: spreading the news about pre-orders – YES
- Edit one more video for the Doable Interview series and reach out to more women about interviewing them – YES
Again, a bit of a mixed bag in terms of accomplishments, but the key goals—writing every day and pushing my Doable launch work forward—were mostly met, so that’s extremely gratifying.
A few things I’m noticing about my specific goals as well as the process of sharing these explicit goals each week:
1. Writing down these goals is immensely helpful when it comes to staying on track and being clear about the big picture. Even when I don’t accomplish everything, it’s okay because I’m still reminding myself of my larger intention and where I eventually need / want to be.
2. Tracking my daily writing habits has been interesting, especially when it comes to helping me see where I spend my time, what my most productive hours are, and how long things take in reality versus how much time I imagine them taking. After tracking my daily writing for nearly 2.5 months, I now have some useful data about my most productive days and times, as well as how much time I have available for additional opportunities (the answer to that being, not much).
3. There are some goals that keep popping up each week as being ones I did not complete. Clearly these are tasks that I’m not prioritizing for some reason—either I don’t find them as interesting OR they feel overwhelming to me. I know the answer to that one already—overwhelm. Figuring out my memoir’s algorithm is really just writing out the key theme of the book. I’ve written pages upon pages about my intention, goals, why, and plans for my WIP, so really this shouldn’t be so difficult. Yet clearly I’m scared off by the idea as it’s remained undone for the past month. I need to decide if it’s a goal worth keeping for now, or if perhaps I take it off the list and put it back up when I’m ready.
I’ll go into more detail about my two main projects in a moment, but first, here’s this week’s Writing Project Log:
Though I did nearly finish reading The Memoir Project this week, my work on the WIP has centered around writing. It seems that my daily 9am appointment with my guest room + a cozy Pottery Barn blanket + a cold Diet Coke (don’t judge) is the perfect environment for me to write, for now. Two weeks in to writing exclusively in this space, and I’ve got more than 11,000 words down. And since I’ve been writing chronologically for the most part, picking up where I left off isn’t too difficult. On a few occasions, I’ve written other pieces for the book—shorter essays on themes I know I want to touch upon but don’t necessarily fit neatly into a linear timeline—but mostly I’ve been writing down a story, relying heavily on my raw material (journal entries and emails) that I have from the time.
What I’m most excited about is it appears I’ve created a new habit of writing every morning and it’s one that I’m enjoying. I’m averaging 600-800 words each day during these writing sessions, which feels doable and steady. If I’m able to continue at this pace I can see myself having a supremely shitty first draft by the end of March, which would keep me on track for being ready to pitch this book by end of May.
Because I’ll be traveling in the US for nearly two-and-a-half weeks over the holidays, my challenge will clearly be not losing momentum. I’ll be staying with my parents in PA, my sister in MD, and friends in NY, so in each location I’ll try to quickly create a new habit in new surroundings. Because I’m intending to cut back on much of my other work over the holidays, my hope is that setting aside this hour each day will feel easy and like creative time I look forward to.
The launch for my book Doable continues, with my focus being on pre-orders, pre-orders, pre-orders. I think my promotional tactics are working pretty well—people are spreading the word and I’m definitely getting some sales now, though it’s hard to say how many since not everyone is letting me know and registering for the pre-order goodies. I am nearly finished creating the bonus material I want to have available, which feels great. Once those pieces of content are complete, I can focus on sharing and promoting on various social media.
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I did have a bit of a freak out this past weekend, as my various To Do lists were competing for attention and I suddenly realized I’d be gone for nearly the whole second half of December (hence the solo summit).
I decided to put everything on one big To Do list with the following sub-headings:
- To be done this week
- To be done over the holiday
- To be done in January pre-book launch
- To be done post-book launch and beyond
Then I assigned each item to one of the categories. What I ended up with is a prioritized action plan that not only put things in perspective, but helped me see that there was very little that actually had to be accomplished this week. And the items I reserved for the holiday break mostly revolve around catching up on some reading and e-course content.
As I write in my book Doable, plan of action = peace of mind.
SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION GOALS (my plan for the next 2.5 weeks):
- Write one hour per day on my work-in-progress (9am – 10am each morning)
- Finish reading The Memoir Project
- Continue sharing the promotional content I’ve created for Doable and crossing items off my launch plan execution list
- Continue working on Hacking Guide for Doable bundle
- Write 3 blog posts for my author site community
- Complete some of my e-courses that I’m in the middle of (Instant Bestseller + Hacking Amazon, etc.)
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I hope you enjoyed this installment of Writer Unplugged! If you aren’t already on my email list, I encourage you to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the series!